School of Rock

July 25, 2016


Dieter Kuhlka ’16

People aren’t kidding when they say Stonehill rocks.

As an incentive for participating in the rigorous Collegiate Learning Assessment Plus (CLA+) initiative, Biology major Dieter Kuhlka ’16 recently walked away with a flashy purple guitar that would have made musical icon Prince jealous.

The Stonehill-themed instrument could not have been given to a more fitting student, as Kuhlka is an amateur guitarist.

“I absolutely love the guitar that I won and I was so excited to win it,” he said. “I play it frequently, and it sounds amazing. Stonehill is where I learned how to play guitar, so it is nice to have a memento of my time on campus.”

Todd Gernes, Assistant Dean of General Education and Academic Achievement, who teaches a summer course at Stonehill in which students design and build their own electric guitars, hot-rodded the Stratocaster-style guitar given to Kuhlka.

“I was very happy he won because I appreciate it when musicians take one of my instruments and bring it to life,” Gernes said.

Displaying Stonehill Pride
guitarWhen designing instruments, Gernes usually gathers guitar parts from various sources and assembles them to reflect a particular theme.

“The Stonehill guitar is a collection of things I have picked out and modified with some Stonehill swag, such as parts of a key chain or an emblem, which I embedded in the guitar,” he said. “It also shows the color scheme to reflect the Stonehill colors. What you end up with is a custom, unique instrument of professional quality that reminds students of their affiliation to Stonehill.”

Although Kulhka won the guitar, the other students who participated in the survey did not walk away empty-handed. Other students won headphones or iTunes gift-cards, reflecting a musical theme.

Evaluating Student Success
Gernes said giving students an incentive for completing the CLA+ was important. The demanding assessment plays a critical role in helping the College’s Cornerstone Program of General Education evaluate student success.

“THE CLA+ is a very important national assessment that allows Stonehill to benchmark against other institutions in terms of what we contribute to student’s learning,” Gernes said.